Nolo Self-help books are written by lawyers. They give clear, no nonsense instructions on how to deal with all sorts of issues, from getting your greencard, incorporating, writing your own will or trust to buying a house. I’ve used Nolo’s books to do two out of that list so far, and am very happy with the results. No lawyer needed! Forms are included on CD-rom, as is excellent website support. Best of all, the books clearly state if and when you should consult a real lawyer. These are tools written by lawyers who are fed up with overcharging customers and making law inaccessible through complex language. Most solutions are common sense, and Nolo tells you how to do it without breaking the bank (or the law).
I’ve used these as well, and recommend them. In addition to their admirable paperback books, Nolo Press also offers many of its best-selling titles, like the ones below, in an e-book (PDF) format, so that you can instantly download it if you are in a hurry. Some very specific topics, like Trademark Basics for Naming Your Small Business, are only offered in PDF booklet format. Nolo’s free web articles are also extremely helpful. In fact their website is the first place I head when I need an orientation in legal matters.
UPDATE: I recently used a Nolo Press book, How to Change Your Name, to successfully bypass a chore that would have normally demanded a lawyer. It took me all the way through the paperwork and court system. Like most of Nolo legal self-help books, it was clear, thorough, and knowledgeable — exactly what you want from a lawyer, but much less costly. I would buy one for a task even if I were to use a lawyer, just to get a feel for what I should expect. — KK